Hives, also called urticaria, are itchy raised bumps on the skin that can be severely debilitating. When it lasts more than 6 weeks, it is considered chronic. Blood work is usually done by an allergist, but sometimes an underlying cause cannot be identified. Impairment related to chronic hives can be severe and debilitating, as much as ischemic heart disease suggested by one study. The good news for patients who still get hives despite taking antihistamines is that there is an FDA approved treatment for chronic hives. Omalizumab (Xolair) is a biologic which targets IgE, an allergic antibody, which affects allergic cells such as the mast cell and basophil. In one landmark study looking at chronic hive patients who did not respond to antihistamines, a majority of them did respond to Xolair. An important side effect, among others, to know about Xolair is the small possibility of severe allergic reaction. We recommend you schedule an appointment in our allergy clinic if you think you may benefit from this drug to discuss more about the risks and benefits. For more information, please visit the following link: www.xolair.com/ciu.html
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